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Unlock, Ride, Return (Q.7-14)

(1) In metropolitan areas around the world, millions of cars, trucks, and taxis pack the streets every day, causing headaches for commuters and polluting the environment. (2) Public transportation eases some of this congestion, but crowding and potential delays are still an issue for many travelers. (3) In recent years, another transportation option has been gaining momentum in some cities. (4) This option is all about sharing bicycles, which is a creative and new idea for some.

(5) The bike share concept is fairly simple. (6) Bike stations are set up at multiple locations in a city. (7) Frequent users can purchase a membership pass, while less-frequent users or tourists can buy a daily permit. (8) Many city bikers prefer bike sharing over ownership. (9) They are not responsible for the bike’s storage or its maintenance. (10) Tourists also benefit from having an affordable way to experience
the sites of a city.

(11) The largest bike sharing program in the United States today is in New York City. (12) Known as Citi Bike, the program was launched in 2013 and now boasts 10,000 bikes spread across 600 stations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. (13) Similarly, in Hangzhou, China, a city of 7 million residents, there are approximately 75,000 bikes offered across 2,700 stations. (14) In 2016, people used Citi Bike for a lot of trips, which turned out to be a huge increase in the number of people taking rides from the previous year. (15) These numbers are likely to increase further, since the program is set to expand into additional neighborhoods soon. (16) According to Citi Bike, the bike sharing concept has gained rapid popularity because it is “faster than walking, cheaper than a taxi, and more fun than the subway.”

(17) New York City officials estimated that in 2016 the bike share program had kept nearly 5,000 tons of carbon dioxide out of the city’s air. (18) Officials in Montreal, Canada, and Lyon, France, have noted similar impacts on air quality.

(19) As populations grow, fuel costs increase, and environmental concerns escalate, people will continue to search for more economical and environmentally friendly ways to travel. (20) Bike sharing is a new mode of transportation.

Pursuing a Hobby (Q.15-20)

(1) A hobby is an activity or interest that a person pursues for pleasure or relaxation. (2) For some it is a sport or a game, while for others it is an art, a craft, or a volunteer opportunity. (3) Becoming involved in a hobby can seem difficult and time consuming, but that should not stop people from pursuing one.

(4) Hobbies can be an outlet for the stress of everyday life. (5) School, work, family responsibilities, and relationships can all compete for a person’s time and attention. (6) Many people exhibit psychological symptoms of stress, such as boredom, tension, and anxiety. (7) Others report physical symptoms, including low energy, headaches, and insomnia. (8) Reading books, creating works of art, or playing games can give the human mind a reprieve from stress. (9) But stress relief is not the only benefit of pursuing a hobby.

(10) People who regularly pursue a hobby spend time in what is called active leisure. (11) Active leisure involves doing an activity that is relaxing but that also expends some mental or physical energy, such as following a pattern to knit a scarf, analyzing statistics about a favorite sports team, or doing light noncompetitive exercise. (12) During active leisure, people may experience what experts call flow, or a state of effortless concentration. (13) Pursuing a stimulating hobby can help a person find flow, which psychologists believe is more relaxing and restorative than passive leisure activities, such as watching television. (14) Many successful businesspeople and celebrities have said that they pursue hobbies in
their free time.

(15) Another benefit of hobbies is that they can encourage positive social interaction among people with similar interests. (16) A hobbyist might decide to do something to get better at a hobby or go to places with other people interested in the hobby. (17) Making connections and having discussions with fellow hobbyists can enhance a person’s knowledge about a hobby while fostering new friendships.

(18) Free time is a precious commodity, and spending it engaged in a hobby has many advantages. (19) Finding an enjoyable hobby may take effort, but the physical, mental, and social effects of engaging in a hobby are overwhelmingly positive.

Passage 1 (Q.21-27)

The eruption of the Philippine volcano Mount

Pinatubo in June 1991 sent a huge cloud of

gas and dust encircling the globe. The dust

and ash from Mount Pinatubo was blamed

  1. for a two-year decrease in global

temperature, changes in weather patterns,

and damage to the ozone layer. The situation

brings to mind a meteorological event that

occurred 175 years earlier. At that time,

  1. harsh weather conditions plagued much of

eastern North America and, to a lesser

extent, northern Europe.

 

April 1816 brought typical spring weather to

upstate New York and New England; trees

  1. budded, and farmers prepared to plow and

plant. In May, however, the expected warm

temperatures failed to arrive. Most people

remained optimistic, waiting for the summer

that was “just around the corner.” They

  1. waited in vain. June ushered in what modern

meteorologists call “The Year Without a

Summer.” During the first week of June,

ten inches of snow fell on New England.

Throughout the month, temperatures rarely

  1. rose above the 30s. Many farmers replanted

crops several times, only to see them stunted

or destroyed by sleet, hail, and icy winds.

July and August brought little improvement.

During most days the temperature stayed in

  1. the 40s. Farmers’ diaries document the

farmers’ daily struggles with near-freezing

temperatures, failing crops, and dying farm

animals. The few crops that managed to

survive were killed by frost in mid-

  1. September. Winter came early in New

England and was unusually severe. Even the

South was affected; on July 4, the high

temperature for Savannah, Georgia, was only

46 degrees!

 

  1. Some religious leaders warned their

congregations that the unusual weather

meant that the end of the world was drawing

near. Other leaders attributed the cool

weather to unusual sunspot activity. The

  1. proliferation of the newly invented lightning

rod was also blamed. Some people believed

that lightning rods had interrupted the

natural temperature balance of Earth,

causing the cooler temperatures.

 

  1. It was not until October that the first

plausible explanation for “The Year Without a

Summer” was suggested. A German

astronomer, Friedrich Bessel, reported seeing

thick clouds of dust in the upper atmosphere.

  1. He theorized that these dust particles

screened portions of Earth from the warming

rays of the sun. It was discovered that in

April 1815, Mount Tambora, an Indonesian

volcano, had erupted with such force that it

  1. had sent an estimated 100 cubic miles of fine

dust into the atmosphere. Witnesses to the

eruption reported that the sky remained dark

for two days. The dust then rose high into the

stratosphere, where it encircled the world for

  1. several years to come.

 

Skeptics in 1816 doubted that a faraway

volcano could steal their summer. However,

most present-day researchers believe Bessel’s

explanation to be generally correct,

  1. demonstrating the global nature of weather.

The dust in the atmosphere eventually

settled, and the spring of 1817 was back to

normal.

Passage 2 (Q.28-33)

The British novelist Charles Dickens is well

known for the colorful and eccentric

characters he created in his many novels. But

one of his books, David Copperfield, seems to

  1. have a great deal to do with fact as well as

fiction. After attempting to write his

autobiography, Dickens abandoned the

project and began to work on a novel, the plot

of which was loosely based on his own

  1. boyhood experiences. Apparently, it was

easier for him to weave the events of his own

life into the fiction of David Copperfield than

to write about them in nonfiction.

 

Some of Dickens’s most troubling memories

  1. involved a job he held in 1824 as a 12-year old

child. Because his family was deeply in

debt, he was forced to quit school and go to

work in a London factory, pasting labels on

pots of shoe polish. Dickens lived in a

  1. boardinghouse, using his meager wages to

support himself and to help pay his family’s

debts. He worked in the dreary, run-down

factory six days a week from 8:00 a.m. to

8:00 p.m. Such long hours were not unusual

  1. at the time, for children or adults, but

Dickens was miserable during the entire four

months he spent working at the factory.

 

Even when the family finances improved,

Dickens continued to work at the factory

  1. until his father quarreled with Dickens’s

boss, who promptly dismissed the son.

Dickens was upset at being fired but relieved

to be out of the factory. Thus he felt betrayed

when his mother, anxious for the boy’s weekly

  1. wage, succeeded in making peace and getting

Dickens’s job back for him. The father,

however, now sided with his son, and the boy

was sent back to school. “I know how these

things have worked together to make me

  1. what I am,” Dickens later wrote, but he never

forgot that his mother was eager for him to

return to work.

 

As an adult, Dickens always remembered the

shame and humiliation he felt during those

  1. months at the factory. For years afterward,

whenever in London, he could not go near the

sites of the factory and boardinghouse, going

out of his way to avoid those painful

reminders of his past. In fact, Dickens never

  1. told his wife and children about his childhood

work experience. It was only after his death

that they heard of it from a family friend

whom Dickens had confided in.

 

Instead, Dickens expressed his feelings by

  1. giving his fictional “other self,” David

Copperfield, a job similar to the one he had so

hated. In the novel, ten-year-old David is

forced by his harsh stepfather to work as a

bottle washer in a factory. Young David, who

  1. “suffered exquisitely” as a child manual

laborer, was apparently Dickens’s way of

dealing with his own past. David Copperfield

was to become Dickens’s most popular novel,

and Dickens himself called it his “favorite

  1. child.”

Passage 3 (Q.34-39)

When you eat an orange, your experience of

its flavor comes from the combination of its

aroma and its taste. Taste buds, the sensory

receptors on the tongue, convey information

  1. to the brain about chemicals in food while the

food dissolves in saliva. The sense of smell

comes into play when the olfactory nerve in

the nasal passages senses even very low

concentrations of food chemicals in gaseous

  1. The sense of smell has a larger role in

tasting flavors than most people realize—

that is, until they have a stuffy nose and

nothing tastes good.

 

If taste and smell depend on our detection of

  1. food chemicals, one might expect that

chemists would be able to duplicate the

flavors of foods. In fact, a surprising number

of popular food flavors can now be reproduced

in the laboratory, and even more are on the

  1. Orange, perhaps the most popular flavor

worldwide, has been reproduced successfully.

So have some national favorites, including

cashew (Latin America), paprika (Hungary),

and fruit-flavored Jamaica (Mexico).

  1. Synthetic flavors are not limited to flavoring

food; they are also added to mouthwashes,

toothpastes, beverages, and other consumer

products.

 

Only a small proportion of the chemical

  1. components occurring naturally in foods

actually contributes to their flavor. To

identify these critical components, scientists

use a gas chromatograph to separate a food

into its basic chemical constituents. Flavor

  1. experts, called flavorists, then attempt to

isolate those chemicals that are essential to

the distinctive flavor of a food. Mechanical

techniques have been developed to capture

the aromas of food as it is being prepared—

  1. such as the smell of baking bread—and distill

the essential chemicals from these essences.

Flavorists use their highly developed senses

of taste and smell to attempt to produce

acceptable flavorings that are chemically

  1. identical to, but purer than, flavors that are

naturally present in unprocessed food.

 

Although American consumers claim to want

“natural” flavors in their food, taste tests

demonstrate that they often prefer their

  1. synthetically produced counterparts.

Artificial flavors tend to be stronger and less

subtle than natural flavors. For example,

many Americans prefer a soft drink created

with artificial flavors, such as orange soda,

  1. over an “all-natural” soda flavored with real

oranges, which may taste weak in

comparison. In fact, some flavorists worry

that consumers will develop such a strong

taste for artificial flavors that natural

  1. flavorings, usually more expensive than their

artificial counterparts, will become scarce.

 

Researchers have not always been successful

in their efforts to duplicate natural flavors.

Some popular flavors, such as coffee,

  1. strawberry, and chocolate, have proven

virtually impossible to reproduce. The

difficulty in creating a flavor like chocolate,

experts say, is its complexity—a mysterious

combination of sweet and bitter that excites

  1. the taste buds in an unusual and satisfying

way.

Passage 4 (Q.40-45)

The African country of Zimbabwe took its

name from the Shona word meaning “stone

enclosures” or “venerated houses.” In fact,

today dozens of stone ruins are scattered

  1. throughout Zimbabwe and other areas in

southeastern Africa. One of these ruins,

known as Great Zimbabwe, was once a fabled

city that inspired tales that circulated

throughout Europe. Where was this

  1. remarkable city, and who had built it? For

centuries the mystery occupied the minds of

explorers and treasure seekers.

 

The first reports to Europeans of Great

Zimbabwe were spread a thousand years ago

  1. by Arab traders sailing between the Middle

East and the east coast of Africa. They told of

the fabulous wealth of a mysterious stone

city in the African interior. In their tales, that

city became associated with their

  1. understanding of Middle Eastern history—

the Queen of Sheba, King Solomon, and his

legendary gold mines, long since lost to the

world. By the sixteenth century, Portuguese

explorers regularly visited East Africa,

  1. searching for “King Solomon’s gold,” but they

never found Great Zimbabwe. In 1552, a

Portuguese historian, João de Barros,

recorded a story told by the Arabs about a

city with a “square fortress of masonry

  1. within and without, built of stones of

marvelous size, and there appears to be no

mortar joining them.”

 

In fact, Great Zimbabwe was a marvel. In one

area, a massive wall, over thirty feet high

  1. and twenty feet thick, created a great

enclosure. Another area contained a fortresslike

series of walls, corridors, and steps built

into the bluff above. Throughout the city, each

stone was precisely fitted to the others

  1. without the use of mortar.

In the 1870s, a German geologist, Karl

Mauch, was the first European to see Great

Zimbabwe, by then in ruins. Mauch realized

that he had “rediscovered” the fabled city

  1. from de Barros’s story. He jumped to the

conclusion that Great Zimbabwe had been

built by the Queen of Sheba. British

authorities sent a British journalist, Richard

Hall, to Great Zimbabwe to investigate

  1. Mauch’s report. Archaeology was still in its

infancy, and Hall, convinced that the

structures had been built by ancient people

from the Middle East, dug up and discarded

archaeological deposits that would have

  1. revealed much about the true history of

Great Zimbabwe. Later European

excavations destroyed even more valuable

evidence.

 

In the twentieth century, after excavating

  1. areas that had not been disturbed, David

Randall-MacIver, a Scottish Egyptologist, and

Gertrude Caton-Thompson, an English

archaeologist, concluded that the ruins were

unmistakably African in origin. Great

  1. Zimbabwe was most likely built during the

fourteenth or fifteenth century by the

ancestors of the present-day Shona people.

Recent carbon-14 dating supports their

conclusion. Great Zimbabwe was once home

  1. to an estimated 20,000 people, the center of a

great Shona kingdom. Wealthy Shona kings

traded their ivory and gold in coastal towns

for other goods, thus accounting for the

discovery of beads and other foreign wares in

  1. the ruins.

 

One mystery of Great Zimbabwe had been

solved. Another mystery remains: why was

the settlement at Great Zimbabwe

abandoned, leaving the magnificent stone

  1. architecture to fall into ruins?

Passage 5 (Q.46-51)

In many cultures, the ugly physical

appearance of the bat has given it an

unearned reputation as an evil and vicious

bearer of diseases. Many people, for example,

  1. believe that little brown bats carry rabies. In

fact, they are no more likely to transmit the

disease than other animals, such as dogs.

Brown bats actually help prevent disease, not

spread it. The basis of their diet is the

  1. mosquito, an insect that transmits more

diseases than all the bats in the world

combined.

 

A group of bat species known as flying foxes

or fruit bats serves another important

  1. purpose as a critical link in the reproduction

of many tropical trees and shrubs. In the

tropical rain forests of Africa, Asia, and

Australia, plants such as avocados, date

trees, cashews, and mangoes rely in part on

  1. flying foxes for pollination. One of Africa’s

most valuable hardwood trees, the iroko, is

entirely dependent on this type of bat for

pollination. Flying foxes feed on flowers, fruit,

and nectar, flying from one plant to another

  1. and pollinating the plants as they go, much

as bees do in other parts of the world.

Because they are sloppy eaters, flying foxes

drop fruit as they go, dispersing the seeds.

They can travel great distances and convey

  1. pollen and seeds far from their origins,

thereby maintaining the genetic biodiversity

within a plant species.

 

Because of the importance of bats’ role in

pollination and seed distribution, scientists

  1. consider them a keystone in the ecosystems

of tropical rain forests. Without bats, many

bat-pollinated plants—and the animals that

depend on them for food and shelter—would

be threatened to the point of extinction.

  1. Areas outside the rain forests would be

affected as well, since the rain forests’ lush

vegetation replenishes the oxygen in the

global atmosphere.

 

Unfortunately, many people are determined

  1. to get rid of bats. Flying foxes are at

particular risk. In the wild, they feed on wild

fruit, but when their rain forest habitat is

reduced by conversion into farmland or

residential areas, they occasionally raid

  1. cultivated fruit trees, spoiling the crops.

Several flying fox species have been hunted

to extinction, while others are seriously

endangered.

 

Conservation groups and government

  1. agencies in many countries are attempting to

change people’s attitudes toward bats. When

people learn that bats pollinate the trees and

crops that provide their livelihood, they are

more likely to appreciate and protect the bats

  1. in their area. There are also effective,

nonharmful ways to deal with troublesome

bats. Orchard owners can cover their trees

with netting to discourage the bats, and there

are humane methods for moving bats from

  1. places where they are not wanted. For the

sake of the rain forests and for life-forms

everywhere that depend on them, it is urgent

that people apply a new twist to an old adage

and realize that ugliness is only skin deep.

Passage 6 (Q.52-57)

Imagine living in a society where ordinary

people could be punished for what they

choose to read and write. For much of the

twentieth century, such a closed society

  1. existed in Russia and the rest of the Soviet

Union. The Soviet government tried to

dominate its citizens’ activities and ideas by

controlling the information that they

received. Government censors examined

  1. books, films, and newscasts and banned

anything they considered objectionable. They

censored criticism of the Soviet government,

news from the outside world, and anything

that complimented Soviet enemies.

 

  1. The Soviet government’s strict censorship

made life tremendously difficult for writers.

Most worried that they were being watched

by the government’s secret police. Despite the

harsh laws, small groups of writers dodged

  1. state censorship through an underground, or

secret, publishing network that produced

works called samizdat. The name samizdat

came from the Russian words for “self” and

“publish.” For many writers, samizdat offered

  1. the only outlet for their intellectual and

creative expression. To produce samizdat, an

author passed a typed or handwritten text to

a second person, who made a handwritten or

typed copy. The original was returned to the

  1. author, while the copy was passed to other

members of the network. The works were

unsigned or signed with false names.

 

At first, samizdat focused mainly on

literature, such as poetry and novels. By the

  1. late 1950s, samizdat circles were distributing

political material, such as letters to the

government, political essays, and trial

transcripts. By the mid-1960s, the samizdat

network produced sophisticated political

  1. news, debate, and analysis.

 

The great Russian novelist Boris Pasternak

had his work published as samizdat. Like

other writers, he feared that an appearance

of disloyalty to the Soviet state would bring a

  1. knock at his door in the middle of the night.

His classic novel Doctor Zhivago was

smuggled out of the Soviet Union for

publication in Western countries in 1956; in

Russia, it appeared only as samizdat.

  1. Pasternak won the Nobel Prize in Literature

in 1958, but the government forced him to

refuse the prize. Soviet authorities also

blocked publication of the work of Anna

Akhmatova, one of Russia’s greatest poets.

  1. Her work was banned until 1952 because

censors thought she did not sufficiently

praise the Soviet government. Akhmatova

was kept out of public life and the official

Writers’ Union. She composed her poetry in

  1. private, and her works were available only as

samizdat.

 

Through the 1960s and ’70s, Russian writers

used samizdat networks to circulate banned

or politically risky material. By the late

  1. 1980s, computers became available in

scientific research facilities, and underground

writers began using the computers to store

and circulate texts. Censorship was officially

abolished in 1989, shortly before the breakup

  1. of the Soviet Union, leading to a publishing

boom. Works by previously banned authors

were published, and the samizdat networks

quickly faded into history.

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